Gateau Fuji

If lovely had been a fruit, what would it look like?

I think apples when I see the word lovely.

Lovely is a young lady shy of seventeen years,

blushing a pastel pink.

Lovely is a grandmother beyond seven tens,

eyes green and bright smiling through round spectacles.

Lovely is a rising star,

her talons polished valiantly scarlet. 

Lovely is a fragrance,

its whispers drifting from a snow-capped alp.

Can you guess the names of these four apples?

After seeing apples in such an accentuating light, it grieves me to scar the face of their pristine flavour with an intrusive dash of cinnamon. For this cake, I was determined to use the purest ingredients. The organic free-range eggs from Never Say Die Nursery‘s egg “drive-thru” with yolks the color of sun-kissed tangerines give the finished cake a luscious pale yellow with an indescribable taste of sweet cream. The fragrance of fuji apples is enticing in its floral top notes that resonate with a subtly tart finish. The cubes of chopped apple become tender with baking, but do not become mushy – they retain a slight bite in the center. The texture of the sponge, however, was what utterly seduced me. Despite its rustic, dense appearance, it was the finest, most plush and delicate cloud that ever graced my palate.


Ingredients for the apple cake:

265g all purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

2 medium fuji apples, peeled, chopped

1 tbsp corn starch

4 large free-range organic eggs, slightly warm, separated

1 scant cup white granulated sugar

175 ml canola oil

2 tbsp vanilla

3 to 4 tbsp milk

1 tsp white vinegar

1 medium fuji apple, peeled, cut into 16 slices

1 tbsp white granulated sugar

To make the apple cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, with the rack positioned in the middle of the oven. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Sift together the flour and baking powder. In another bowl, toss the chopped apples with the cornstarch until evenly coated, set both of these aside.

 In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks, sugar, oil, vanilla, and milk until pale and smooth, without any grittiness from undissolved sugar, set aside. Make the meringue; beat the egg whites and vinegar with an electric mixer on low speed for 2 minutes, then very slowly increase the speed, until you reach the highest speed and the egg whites are stiff (I mean it!) Your patience will yield a meringue with extra-fine air pockets and a good structural stability.

Stir the sifted flour into the yolk mixture in three additions, until a thick smooth batter forms. Fold in 1/4 of the meringue gently, but swiftly to loosen the batter. Then fold in half of the remaining meringue, then the last half. Fold in the chopped apples. Pour this batter into the prepared pan. Arrange the apple slices on top and sprinkle them with 1 tbsp sugar.

Bake for 1 hr to 1h15, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out completely clean (it will feel as if it’s too dry, but as it cools, the cake will lose some of its height, trapping the moisture inside). Cool completely, and leave it for a day at room temperature, covered – it tastes better once it has had a chance to rest and breathe.


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